Author Jill Mettendorf work in publishing for more than seven years before she took the leap of faith and published her own book, Real Answers, Real Authors. Check out her interview as she shares some words of wisdom of for authors.
1. ) How did you wind up in publishing?
I didn’t plan on it, actually. I was pregnant with my first child and needed a job asap. I responded to an ad for a print sales person 7 years ago and it ended up being a great fit for me. I went to school at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago so my background was more marketing and design. I enjoyed talking to the authors about their books and through personal advice and expertise, I landed a lot of sales. I started to expand the services at Mira to encompass more of a ‘publishing company’ and not just a ‘printing company.’
2.) In your seven years in working with independent authors, what’s the biggest lesson you’ve taken away?
Don’t quit your day job! It is tough to make it as an author full time and very few do. You have to be dedicated, motivated, persistent on a daily basis and be comfortable with constructive criticism.
3.) What prompted your a-ha moment to write this book?
Hmm, I just remember someone telling me a really good tip on what they did to sell their book and I thought ‘how do I remember all of these things and tell other people’….so then I thought I should just make a book out of it and that rolled into me going through the self-publishing experience. I was more interested in using the book as a way for me to go through the various steps and learn firsthand so I could be more educated. For instance, I have been talking with librarians and will be putting a blog together on how to get your book into the library system. My blog is at www.realanswersrealauthors.com.
4.) What do you think is the biggest misconception new authors have about marketing?
It seems that authors think there is one magic answer to marketing – but there isn’t. I have been asked ‘How do I market my book’ so many times that it has lost all meaning. Every book needs to be marketed differently depending on genre and who they are targeting. There is no right or wrong as long as you try and try again. I thought my book would be very helpful to see how others marketed and what worked for them. Most marketing books are about one or two people spitting out all this info and that can be overwhelming. I was hoping my book would give a basic grassroots kind of approach.
5.) Out of all the advice and tips you compiled in your book, what has been the most helpful one?
Actually I really like a quote from Pete Bollinger that said "There will always be people who scoff and say they know more than you. I have come up with a one-liner for them: 'Write your own book.'” This is so true. There are a lot of great tips and I have went through and made notes and scribbles on each page but this really stuck with me. If you are going to put yourself out there, you have to stand up and believe in your product – and a bit of attitude and confidence will go a long way.
6.) What has been the most surprising thing about your journey as an author so far?
People look at you differently when you say ‘I’m an author’ or ‘I have a book.’ I was pleasantly surprised at the positive response from people in general. They do a double-take and say ‘oh wow, that’s cool.’ Take advantage of this and hand them a business card or postcard about your book. You never know who they may hand it to or share it with.
7.) Now that you’ve gone through this process as an author, is there anything you plan on doing differently for your next book?
I would start talking about it sooner through social media. Start building interest and get people more involved with the book by contributing their ideas, have contests to name characters, etc. You can have a lot of fun with it while building your audience and hopefully lining up buyers.
8.) What other projects are you working on?
I am going to put my blog and author interview series into books as well. I am also looking to start a webinar series on the basics of self-publishing and doing more speaking engagements. I am hoping to have everything done by Spring 2014.
Want to contact Jill? Here's where you can find her:
Senior Publishing Consultant
Mira Digital Publishing